Chain is a recurring gameplay mechanism in the Final Fantasy series that involves chaining attacks or killed enemies.
The game has a speed-based chain system. No matter the type of enemy, if they are killed fast enough the word chain appears on the screen, along with the number of enemies killed in-a-row.
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The parties can chain their attacks by relentlessly attacking a single target. The chain is indicated by a Chain x1! message that pops on the screen while a unit is being hit. Both the player party and the enemy party can chain attacks. After each attack there is a two second window during which if the target is attacked again, the chain will keep on building. The longer the chain, the more damage the next attack inflicts. The window between attacks is two seconds for normal attacks and three seconds after a Critical Hit.
Chain x1! damage is 1.45 times the normal damage, and any hit afterward adds .05 to the multiplier. Maximum value is more than 600%. On top of increased damage, attacking an opponent while it is still recovering from the previous attack (i.e. within the two second window) prevents the enemy from evading the next attack, and also prevents the enemy from executing its own attack.
If the player manages to build a long enough chain, the enemy may never get a chance to attack back. However, if the enemy has already begun its attack animation, chaining attacks on it will not stop the attack. This is especially noticeable with enemies with slow attack animations, such as the Tonberry-type enemies.
Thief is a good job to use to build a chain, due to that Thieves are fast and always attack twice in succession and Yuna's Festival-Goer (International + Last Mission version of the game only) can also do 2 attacks in 1 turn just like Thief. The Gunner's Trigger Happy is also one of the best ways to build a long chain.
Experience Chains in Final Fantasy XI refer to extra experience gained while killing multiple monsters in a quick period of time. EXP Chains can only be made while fighting monsters that check as Even Match or more difficult. The time limit for killing another monster in order to make or continue the chain depends on the chain's level and the character's level. The bonuses and time limits for EXP Chains are listed below.
|Time (in seconds)||1-10||11-20||21-30||31-40||41-50||51-60||61-75|
- See also: Hit (Term)#Final Fantasy XII.
There are two types of chain in Final Fantasy XII: the player can chain kills by killing the same type of monster to obtain more loot as loot drops, and the player can also chain their Quickening attacks to deal more damage to targets and to trigger finishing moves known as Concurrences.
The player can build a chain by killing enemies of the same type. The chain is broken if the player kills another type of enemy, touches a Save Crystal or enters a town (effectively any area where only Vaan is controllable). Acquiring a 50 Chain in battle is required to unlock Montblanc as a trophy in the Sky Pirates' Den.
Boarding the Strahl does not reset the chain, which the player can exploit in order to try and get rare loot from enemies that are usually difficult to build a long chain for, such as the Tower at Pharos at Ridorana.
The chain level has different stages. When the chain level increases it flashes on the screen and the loot icon changes. The normal loot icon is a gray pouch, but on the highest level, it is a golden glimmering sphere. There are four chain levels which influence the loot obtained when the enemy is defeated.
All drops fall into one of the five categories: Always, High, Mid, Low, and Very Low. "Always" drops are rare and reserved to special battles, such as how Omega Mark XII always drops the Omega Badge.
How chain level affects the drop chances:
|Drop chance||Chain lv0||Chain lv1||Chain lv2||Chain lv3|
The drops are independent of each other; one can get different kinds of drops (High, Mid, Low, Very Low) in one bag. Also, not all item drops are affected by the chain level: the monograph and Canopic Jar drops are unaffected by chain.
Increasing the chain level is partially random. If the player does not pick up any loot one can always level up the chain between 6 to 10 kills, reaching the highest chain level in 18 to 30 kills.
|Kills required to next Chain Lv||6||7||8||9||10|
|Chain Lv = 0||40%||60%||80%||90%||100%|
|Chain Lv = 1||20%||30%||50%||60%||100%|
|Chain Lv = 2||10%||20%||30%||40%||100%|
Every time the player picks up loot the hidden counter towards the next level up will go down by 1 (Lv 0), 2 (Lv 1), or 3 (Lv 2). Even if the player picks up all loots the chain will still level up eventually, because the game forces a chain level up at certain stages.
From time to time, the player may notice the chain number flashing. This happens 5% of the time, and indicates the player can now pick up loot without penalty. The player can leave the loot on the ground and pick them up all at once when the chain number flashes. The no-penalty time ends when the player kills the next target and the chain number no longer flashes. Every time the chain number starts flashing there is a 60% chance it will keep flashing when the next target is killed.
At higher chain levels the player starts to get bonuses like HP and MP recovery (10% of max HP/MP) and Protect and Shell statuses while picking up loot. On Chain Level 0 there is no chance of bonuses, but once the Chain Level has increased to Level 1 there is a 10% chance of gaining HP or MP recovery when picking up a piece of loot. On Chain Level 2 the chance is 20%, plus 5% chance the party leader is buffed with either Protect or Shell. On the highest Chain Level there is a 25% chance to receive HP or MP recovery from loot, and a 5% chance all of the party being bestowed with either Protect or Shell.
On top of the regular chain, there are two "hidden chains", which are invisible to the player.
The first one is related to the normal chain and allows the player to gain multiple items in one loot drop. This effect activates when the player kills the same enemy in a row. The player can keep the chain going by killing the same type of enemies (such as wolves and hyenas are the same enemy type and don't break the chain, but are not the same enemy).
The player starts randomly receiving multiple units of the same item at a single loot drop after they have killed more than 10 of the same enemy in a row. The most possible items in one drop is 4 (achieved after killing 26 or more of the same enemy in a row), but the chance is low even at high chains. Two items at a single loot drop is the most the items in the "Very Low" category can drop. In some cases a monster can drop the same item in different categories (High, Mid, Low, Very Low) at the same time, which should not be confused with the multiple items bonus.
The player can also build a reverse chain by doing the opposite of building a normal chain and killing only different type of enemies in a row. When building a reverse chain the game gives no indication that the chain is building, but it still affects the item drops in following manner:
|Equivalent Chain Lv||< 5||6-11||12-19||> 20|
If one builds up a reverse chain to more than 20 there is a 15% chance to receive the same item drop one would otherwise receive with a regular Chain Level 2.
- Main article: Quickening (Ability)
Another type of chain in the game is a Quickening chain. Every character has three Quickening moves, one for each Quickening level. The level 3 Quickenings are the most powerful, but require all of the character's MP to perform. All active members in the party who know Quickening moves and who are not Berserked or Confused or otherwise incapacitated, can join in the chain. When the player executes a Quickening the game imposes a time limit, and the player can attempt to chain as many Quickenings as possible within the limit.
The characters' available Quickenings come up for selection at random, and the player can shuffle through the options by the press of R2. Sometimes a Mist Charge option activates, which restores the character's MP to full, allowing them to perform more Quickenings. By successfully coining different level Quickenings together, the player can trigger finishing attacks known as Concurrences.
- Main article: Stagger
In Final Fantasy XIII building a chain bonus on the enemy target has a large role in the Command Synergy Battle system. The player can fill up a chain gauge to deal successively more damage and, once the gauge is full, stagger the enemy. Staggered enemies can be launched into the air preventing them from hitting back. Whether staggered or not, a higher chain bonus directly increases damage from the party's attacks, and the chance to successfully inflict negative statuses. The chain bonus cannot increase beyond 999.9%.
Unlike in the other games, all attacks are not equal to building the chain. Enemy chain bonuses are most effectively increased by the Ravager role - however, Ravager attacks do not increase the chain gauge's timer by very much, making it easy to lose the chain bonus. Other roles don't increase the chain bonus by much, but generally increase the chain gauge's timer by much more than a Ravager.
When using Medic and Synergist roles the player may notice player characters also have a chain bonus. This chain bonus doesn't increase damage taken from enemies, but rather applies to the strength of healing spells and the duration of enhancements, and is increased by casting such spells and enhancements.
Stagger reappears in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
The formula for its chain bonus is as follows:
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Experience Chains in Final Fantasy XIV work similarly to Final Fantasy XI exp chains. They can only be gained while fighting monsters that are of the same level or above the player's current class level. Chain bonuses stack with linking, guildleve, level difference and party bonuses.
When chaining, a timer appears above the experience bar and the current chain number is displayed on the screen.
When a Battle Piece is interacted with, such as an item being taken or an enemy being defeated, any adjacent enemy Battle Pieces turn berserk and attack the player, resulting in a chain of battles where the player has no chance to heal in-between.
This is critical to conserving Destiny Points on many boards by the player positioning their character to chain multiple enemies and minimize their movement on the board, while maximizing the DP earned from enemies. Enemies can be prevented from going Berserk by using certain skills.
Chains function similarly to how they do in Dissidia, but as Destiny Points are no longer used, chains serve a different purpose in practice. When enemies are chained the KP multiplier increases by the amount of enemies chained - chaining two enemies increases the multiplier to 2x KP, while chaining three increases it to 3x.
When the chain is complete the player earns as much KP as they won from the enemies by fulfilling the KP Chance requirements, times the multiplier. Thus, defeating enemies in a chain can exponentially boost the KP the player earns. Some skills allow the player to chain enemies in new ways, such as the Cross Chain chaining all enemies on a diagonal to the player.
When the player hits consecutive notes they build chains. At the end of the battle in the Battle Results screen their best chain is displayed, which affects overall rank the player will get for a cleared level.